Technical

Standard – Use software and other tools appropriate to the task.

Context

The technical standard requires the demonstration of the use of software or other tools appropriate to the task. EDTEC 671 with Dr. Hoffman provided me the opportunity to demonstrate this standard through the individualized instruction assignment. For this assignment I created a frame-based tutorial that would serve as an introduction for teachers into the world of educational blogging. This tutorial was created using Macromedia Captivate, a program that I have since used many times and has become a valuable tool in my arsenal of instructional design. It was in this assignment that I really began to understand the power that Captivate has.

Outcomes

Per Dr. Hoffman’s course website the outcomes of the individualized instruction project are as follows:

  • Propose an appropriate instructional goal and draft a task analysis suitable for designing a frame-based tutorial.
  • Draft a suitable learning outcome statement and classify it according to the content-performance matrix.
  • Draft an outline that will lend itself to developing reusable content.
  • Draft at least 9 practice items and 3 test items, with appropriate feedback.
  • Draft a frame-based lesson based on principles of structured lesson design and reusability.
  • Use authoring tools (Xyleme LCMS, Flash, Captivate , HTML, Javascript) to develop a Web-based tutorial.
  • Report on the results of learnability testing of your lesson, including practice items and quiz.
  • Make your Web-based tutorial accessible.

Demonstrating Technical Skills

My initial exposure to Macromedia Captivate came in EDTEC 561 also with Dr. Hoffman, it was there that I learned the basics of this powerful program. By working through several of the modules in the captivate tutorials I was able to gain basic understanding of how to create content that can be published out via Macromedia Flash Player. These initial forays with Captivate in 561 lead to my desire to learn more about the technical abilities of the program on my own in EDTEC 671. This resulted in the advancement of my technical skills, especially working with the tools and functions specific to Captivate to work around the technical constraints of the project and integrating standard Captivate templates for assessment and content delivery in order to speed up the production process.

Lessons Learned

First, while it is important to develop technical skills using specific programs and tools, as technologies change the theory behind using them often remains the same, and so perhaps one the most valuable aspects of learning this program stemmed not from using Macromedia Captivate itself but rather the thinking that goes along with creating a strong deliverable that allows users to effectively learn. As I developed the tutorial visuals, practice questions, and feedback, I focused on how the learner would understand and react to these elements. Clark and Mayer’s Principles For E- Learning served as a cornerstone for creating solid instruction.

A second important lesson I learned is that the idea of scope creep is something I need to be very aware of. This is a lesson that I’ve learned time and time again on throughout the EDTEC program. At first blush many of my ideas seem like they are appropriate to the scope and size of the project, however it isn’t until the objectives are clearly defined that I realize that the scope of what I’m trying to do is significantly bigger than the time and resources I have available. This project was no exception. What was supposed to be a half-semester long project soon evolved into a much larger entity and was only scaled back after revisiting the original outcomes.

The final important lesson learned was that when self instructing, it is important to know when to stop struggling and when to find appropriate venues for support. In this project those venues included, online help forums, the tutorials within Captivate itself, and also human resources on the staff of my school who had used Captivate.

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